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2023 MLB International Signings: Top 100 Players By Bonus With Scouting Reports

Our annual International Reviews begin this week with scouting reports on the international signing classes for all 30 teams.

We start today with scouting reports for the players who signed for the top 100 bonuses this year since the signing period opened on Jan. 15, 2023.

It's a list of 2023 international signings sorted by bonus amount, including a full scouting report on each player. Now that we're a few months past Jan. 15, players have been in camp at their team academies in the Dominican Republic. Pitchers have started to throw again, with some of them having taken significant leaps forward with their stuff. These reports build off the history teams have had with these players over the years and incorporate new information with changes players have shown in recent months.

The 10 biggest bonuses of the signing class went to:

1. Ethan Salas, C, Padres (Venezuela) - $5.6 million
2. Felnin Celesten, SS, Mariners (Dominican Republic) - $4.7 million
3. Brando Mayea, OF, Yankees (Cuba) - $4.35 million
4. Enmanuel Bonilla, OF, Blue Jays (Dominican Republic) - $4.1 million
5. Brailer Guerrero, OF, Rays (Dominican Republic) - $3.7 million
6. Sebastian Walcott, SS, Rangers (Bahamas) - $3.2 million
7. Alfredo Duno, C, Reds (Venezuela) - $3.1 million
8. Starlyn Caba, SS, Phillies (Dominican Republic) - $3 million
9. Luis Morales, RHP, Athletics (Cuba) - $3 million
10. Derniche Valdez, SS, Cubs (Dominican Republic) $2.8 million

Most of the biggest bonuses went to players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The Dominican Republic leads the way with 62 players among the top 100 bonuses, while Venezuela is next with 26.

The signing period is open until Dec. 15, but teams have already either spent their entire bonus pool amounts or are nearing their limit, with a few exceptions. The Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan are the other countries with players on this list. It's a list of predominantly position players, with just 16 pitchers and another in Marlins two-way player Janero Miller.

For a look ahead to the class of players signing in 2024, we have a preview with reports and the teams for some of the big names to know for next year's signing class.

Below are the top 100 international signings by bonus with a scouting report on each player's skill set and projection.

100 Matches
See Full List Expand Collapse All Updated on: 5/10/2023
  1. 1

    Ethan Salas

    Padres C

    Born: June 1, 2006. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 180. B-T: L-R. Country: Venezuela

    From the time years ago when scouts began tracking this year’s international signing class, Salas stood out as one of the elite players for this year. Since then, he has only continued to improve in every facet of the game, making him the No. 1 international prospect for many scouts and drawing rave reviews from pro scouts who have seen him already in Arizona for spring training. Salas’ polish isn’t surprising. He comes from a baseball family, including his brother Jose Salas, who signed with the Marlins for $2.8 million and is now one of the Twins’ top prospects. Ethan, 16, signed with the Padres for $5.6 million, the top bonus for an international prospect this year. While nearly every other top international signing will debut in the Dominican Summer League this year, Salas is staying in Arizona for extended spring training and will make his pro debut in the United States, with a chance he gets to Low-A Lake Elsinore this season. Born in Florida and signed out of Venezuela, Salas is one of the best pure hitters among any international signing this year. He’s 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with a clean, compact swing from the left side, with a tight turn of the barrel that gets on plane early and stays in the hitting zone for a long time. It’s an efficient, adjustable stroke with a knack for staying calm and balanced with good rhythm and timing. That leads to a high contact rate in games with the ability to track pitches well and an approach geared to use the whole field, making him a high on-base threat. It’s a hitterish look from a player who has already shown the ability to hang in well against lefthanded pitching and barrel upper-level arms with premium stuff. Salas has maintained a hit-first mentality geared to spread line drives around the field and drive the ball to both gaps, but his power has also ticked up over the past year. He’s more doubles-oriented in games, but he has shown the ability to drive the ball out of the park from center field over to his pull side in games, so by the time he hits his prime, he could have average or better game power. With a chance to hit toward the top or middle of a lineup, Salas would be a good prospect if he were a corner outfielder. What makes him even more of a special talent for his age is that he has all the attributes in place to develop into a plus defensive catcher. Salas is an outstanding defensive catcher for his age, with the ability to block, receive and control the running game in ways that are outstanding for his age. He’s loose and flexible to get into a good receiving position with soft, quiet hands to steal strikes. His experience catching veteran pitchers last winter in the Venezuelan League was evident in spring training, when he caught major league pitchers and looked like an upper-level catcher. Salas has a slightly above-average arm that should turn into a plus or better tool as he layers on more strength. His quick, efficient transfer enables his arm to play up and get pop times under 1.9 seconds in games at his best. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Salas has already made a strong impression on veteran pitchers he has caught in Venezuelan winter ball and with the Padres for his cerebral mentality, ability to build relationships with pitchers and have advanced conversations about calling games well beyond his years.

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    Felnin Celesten

    Mariners SS

    Born: Sept. 15, 2005. Ht: 6-1. Wt: 178. B-T: B-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Mariners signed shortstop Felnin Celesten out of the Dominican Republic for $4.7 million, the No. 2 bonus for an international player this year behind Padres catcher Ethan Salas. He came over to Arizona briefly for part of spring training, though he didn’t play in games and was just working out there, and he’s back in the Dominican Republic now before making his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. He’s a lean but strong 6-foot-2, 175 pounds with an exciting tool set at a premium position with still more physical upside. Celesten is a switch hitter whose raw power grades out at least plus and shows flashes of a 70 tool on the 20-80 scale. It’s big power especially from the right side, a swing that has a little more length and leverage to drive the ball with loft and impact to the middle of the field, with the ability to crush balls out of the park from right-center over to his pull side. He can hammer balls from the left side too, though his swing path from that side is flatter and more conducive to line drives in games. Some scouts thought Celesten would need to tighten his offensive approach to be a more selective hitter as he moves up, but he has generally performed well against live pitching. Celesten has also increased his speed and added arm strength to where both tools draw 70 grades from scouts. Where his footwork was shorter and more compact early on, he now has looser, longer strides to glide around at shortstop with good range and hands at the position.

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    Brando Mayea

    Yankees OF

    Born: Sept. 12, 2005. Ht: 5-11. Wt: 170. B-T: R-R. Country: Cuba

    Outfielder Brando Mayea signed with the Yankees for $4.35 million, the third-highest bonus for any player this year and the most for a Cuban prospect. It’s an exciting balance of athleticism, tools and hitting ability from a player who can play a premium position. At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Mayea has a compact, efficient swing from the right side with a knack for barreling the ball consistently against live pitching. He has a good track record of game performance as an amateur with a mature offensive approach and good plate coverage. Mayea isn’t a hulking slugger, but he will show home run power both in batting practice and in games with exit velocities up to 108 mph, though it’s his pure hitting ability that stands out the most. As Mayea got stronger, his speed also improved to become a plus-plus tool. Between his speed, defensive instincts in center field and an arm that grades out at least plus, Mayea has the attributes to be a high-end defensive outfielder as well.

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    Enmanuel Bonilla

    Blue Jays OF

    Born: Jan. 22, 2006. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 190. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Blue Jays signed Dominican outfielder Enmanuel Bonilla for $4.1 million, the fourth-highest bonus for any international prospect in 2023. Bonilla, 17, is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and impressed scouts with his mix of hitting ability, power and athleticism. Bonilla has explosiveness to several areas of his game and it shows up at the plate with his bat speed and power. The scouts highest on Bonilla thought he had one of the better combinations of hitting ability, power and strike-zone judgment in the class, though others thought he was a good fastball hitter who would have to get better recognizing spin. He has a strong build and should be a physical outfielder with a chance for 25-plus home runs. As Bonilla does fill out, some scouts expect him to slide over to right field, but others are more optimistic he can retain his speed to handle center field. He’s a plus runner and has a strong arm for his age, so he has the tools to develop in center field. He has been in Florida for spring training, though like nearly every other international signing this year, he’s expected to make his official pro debut this year in the Dominican Summer League.

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  5. 5

    Brailer Guerrero

    Rays OF

    Born: June 25, 2006. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 205. B-T: L-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    For $3.7 million—the fifth-highest bonus for any player this year—the Rays signed one of the elite power hitters in the Dominican Republic, outiflelder Brailer Guerrero. He is still 16 but he’s already 6-foot-2, 215 pounds with plus raw power that could eventually be a plus-plus tool. He has high-end bat speed and packs plenty of strength behind a sound lefthanded swing, registering exit velocities up to 111 mph already. If everything clicks, Guerrero has a chance to develop into a middle of the lineup hitter, and scouts highest on him thought he had a patient approach with the ability to identify offspeed stuff to help him tap into that power against live pitching. Guerrero’s value will come from what he does at the plate. Some scouts thought his size and athleticism might eventually lead him to first base, while others thought he moved better than he gets credit for and saw average speed underway with a strong arm that could fit in right field.

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    Sebastian Walcott

    Rangers SS

    Born: March 14, 2006. Ht: 6-4. Wt: 190. B-T: R-R. Country: Bahamas

    Shortstop Sebastian Walcott signed with the Rangers for $3.2 million, the top bonus this year for a player from the Bahamas and the sixth-highest bonus for any player in 2023. Walcott has outlier athleticism, size and tools. He’s a tall, lean 6-foot-4, 190 pounds at 17, standing out early in the process for his physical projection and athleticism, but taking a significant leap forward over the past year with his strength and body coordination. While he’s back at the Rangers academy in the Dominican Republic now and likely starting in the Dominican Summer League, Walcott made a strong impression on the Arizona back fields in minor league spring training, hitting a home run off a 98 mph fastball with an exit velocity of 105 mph in an intrasquad game. With his bat speed and lots of space left to add good weight, Walcott has the potential for at least plus raw power. Teenage hitters with long limbs often come with swing-and-miss issues, and while there is some length that comes to his righthanded swing, Walcott has drawn praise for his hand-eye coordination and ability to keep his swing synced up fairly well. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Walcott’s game this spring has been his defense. Once considered a high probability bet to move off shortstop and go to either third base or the outfield, Walcott has made impressive strides at shortstop over the past year. An above-average runner underway, Walcott has increased his first-step quickness and maintained his athleticism even as he’s gotten bigger, showing good body control at shortstop with improved range to both sides. His arm has ticked up to become a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, giving him more margin for error. There’s still a chance Walcott ends up moving off the position, but he should continue to develop at shortstop through the lower levels and possibly beyond.

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    Alfredo Duno

    Reds C

    Born: Jan. 17, 2006. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 220. B-T: R-R. Country: Venezuela

    Venezuelan catcher Alfredo Duno has a rare mix of physicality, athleticism and tools for a 17-year-old catcher. Signed for $3.1 million—the second-highest bonus for a Venezuelan player this year after Padres catcher Ethan Salas—Duno is 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and is a strong, well-proportioned athlete with a mature tool set. At the plate, Duno has big righthanded raw power that grades out plus and could end up a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. If everything clicks, he could be a 30-plus home run hitter. There are times where he overswings with his upper body, causing his swing to get disconnected with his lower half, but even when he’s not totally synced up, he’s typically on time, recognizes spin and has shown the ability to barrel high-end velocity. Catchers as big as Duno often face questions about sticking behind the plate, but Duno draws high praise for his defense. He’s a good athlete who moves extremely well for a catcher with average speed underway, though that tool will likely back up. His experience handling high-velocity arms from a young age shows in his advanced receiving skills for his age, while his plus-plus arm and quick release helps him dial in pop times under 1.9 seconds on his best throws in games.

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    Starlyn Caba

    Phillies SS

    Born: Dec. 6, 2005. Ht: 5-10. Wt: 160. B-T: B-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Phillies added one of the premium shortstops available this year in Starlyn Caba, who signed for $3 million out of the Dominican Republic. Caba, 17, is a stellar defensive shortstop for his age. He has a great first step and outstanding quickness at shortstop. He’s a springy athlete with plus speed who moves his feet well at shortstop. He can make throws going in different directions with a tick above-average arm that could develop into another plus tool. His instincts and internal clock give him a chance to become a plus defender, with some scouts thinking his fielding could ultimately grade out even higher. At 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, Caba isn’t that big and doesn’t project to be a big power threat, but he has the offensive skill set that could potentially fit toward the top of a lineup. He’s a switch-hitter who tracks pitches well and makes contact at a high clip from both sides of the plate. Caba’s bat-to-ball skills are a little more advanced from the right side with more power hitting lefty. He has some sneaky pop and strength for his size, with a chance to hit 15-20 home runs, but it will likely always be a hit-over-power profile. At times he gets too uphill trying to manufacture power, but he’s at his best when he maintains his more contact-oriented approach.

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    Luis Danys Morales

    Athletics RHP

    Born: Sept 24, 2002. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 176. B-T: R-R. Country: Cuba

    Cuban righthander Luis Morales signed with the Athletics for $3 million, by far the biggest bonus of the year for a pitcher, with no other international pitching prospect getting a seven-figure deal so far. Morales is 20, so he’s older than the top pitchers signing out of the Dominican Republc or Venezuela, and he pitched in Cuba’s top league at a young age. As a 17-year-old starting pitcher for Sancti Spiritus in the 2020-21 season, Morales posted a 5.95 ERA in 42.1 innings with 58 strikeouts and 30 walks. In 2019, pitching at 16 in Cuba’s 18U national league, Morales registered an ERA of 0.99 in 63.1 innings with 95 strikeouts and 33 walks, good for first in the league in strikeouts and fifth in ERA. He pitched again in the league in 2020, when he had an ERA of 0.87 (fourth in the league) with 135 strikeouts (most in the league, 48 more than the No. 2 pitcher) and 18 walks in 82.2 innings. Morales is an athletic pitcher at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a lively fastball that was 94-98 mph during showcases. Given his arm speed and strength projection remaining, he could end up throwing 100 mph. Morales throws hard and pairs his fastball with a solid slider that could develop into an out pitch for him. Scouts were split on whether he would be a starter or a reliever long term. He will need to improve his changeup and his track record of command has been spotty, possibly stemming from some mechanical inconsistencies, though his athleticism could help him make adjustments. He should start this year in the Dominican Summer League.

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    Derniche Valdez

    Cubs SS

    Born: March 29, 2006. Ht: 6-1. Wt: 165. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Cubs signed Dominican shortstop Derniche Valdez for $2.8 million, the fourth-highest bonus for a shortstop this year and No. 10 overall. Valdez, 17, is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with quick-twitch actions and explosiveness that stand out most in the batter’s box. He has quick wrists to generate fast bat speed and turn the barrel with good path through the hitting zone. With that bat speed and more strength that he’s added to a once wiry frame, Valdez looks like he could be a 25-plus home run hitter. Playing as a tryout player at a Dominican instructional league game at the Cubs complex last year, Valdez demonstrated both his power and all-fields approach, blasting a home run that cleared the scoreboard in right-center field. Valdez can barrel premium velocity and the scouts highest on him liked his ability to square up breaking stuff, though others thought he would need to develop a more selective approach and could end up a power-over-hit profile. Valdez has a chance to develop into an average defender at shortstop, though there’s a chance a better defender could ultimately push him elsewhere in the infield. He’s filling out with a build along the lines of former Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and is now an above-average runner with a plus arm that could tick up. His hands and feet work well at shortstop and his overall game awareness is advanced for his age.

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    Rayner Arias

    Giants OF

    Born: April 29, 2006. Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The top bonus in this year’s class for the Giants went to Rayner Arias, a 17-year-old Dominican outfielder who signed for $2,697,500. Arias is the son of Pablo Arias, a longtime scout in the Dominican Republic, so he grew up around the game. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Arias has big power from the right side. Scouts higheset on him liked his ability to hit against live pitching as well, but it’s likely a power-over-hit profile, with lift to his swing to drive the ball in the air with loud contact when he finds the sweet spot and what should be plus raw power in the future. While a lot of scouts viewed Arias as a pure corner outfielder, the Giants have been playing him in center field. He’s an average runner with a strong arm more than likely still ends up in right field, but he’s a good athlete and his defensive instincts are good for his age, giving him a chance to continue in center field.

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    Luis Guanipa

    Braves OF

    Born: Dec. 5, 2005. Ht: 5-11. Wt: 170. B-T: R-R. Country: Venezuela

    The Braves spent nearly half of their international bonus pool to sign Venezuelan outfielder Luis Guanipa for $2.5 million. Guanipa packs explosive athleticism into a strong, compact frame (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) with an impressive mix of power and speed. He’s a 70 runner on the 20-80 scale, cutting his 60-yard dash times under 6.4 seconds at his best. He gets solid reads off the bat for a 17-year-old with his speed allowing him to cover a lot of ground in center field. His arm is below-average but with enough strength projection left where that tool could still tick up. At the plate, Guanipa's swing used to have a bigger hitch to it, but he has since smoothed that out and improved his balance at the plate. His raw power stands out, with explosive bat speed from the right side and the juice to drive the ball over the fence to any part of the field. He’s still learning to fully tap into that potential plus raw power in games, with an aggressive mindset that will require a more selective approach, but he has the hand-eye coordination that enables him to make contact when he swings.

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    Ariel Castro

    Twins OF

    Born: Feb. 17, 2006. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 180. B-T: L-L. Country: Cuba

    The Twins’ biggest bonus this year went to Cuban outfielder Ariel Castro, who signed for $2.4 million. Castro is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and stood out for his bat speed and power. Scouts were split on his pure hitting ability, where some liked his bat-to-ball skills, while others thought there was some stiffness to his stroke that would create issues against better pitching. His power is his calling card though, with a chance for that tool to continue to tick up as he fills out his frame. It’s an offensive-driven profile with enough athleticism to handle a corner outfield spot.

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    Luis Almeyda

    Orioles SS

    Born: April 17, 2006. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 180. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    Growing up in New Jersey, shortstop Luis Almeyda had some of the top programs in college baseball recruiting him before he started high school. Had Almeyda stayed in the United States, he would have been one of the top players in the 2025 class, but instead he moved to the Dominican Republic and signed with the Orioles for $2,297,500. Almeyda has already been in Sarasota, Fla. for spring training and is advanced enough that he could stay for the Rookie-level Florida Complex League season, though with the other shortstops the Orioles have ready to play there, he might debut in the Dominican Summer League. Almeyda has grown taller and started to layer more strength on to his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame that still has more room for him to fill out. He typically has a sound offensive approach and a knack for driving the ball with impressive impact for his age, registering exit velocities north of 100 mph against live pitching. If everything clicks, he could develop into a shortstop with 25-plus home run power. Almeyda has the instincts and actions for shortstop, though with the way he has grown, there’s a chance he could end up at third base, with the power to profile at either spot. He’s an average runner who is smooth in the field with good body control, soft hands and a strong arm that should be at least a plus tool with a chance to tick up as he continues getting stronger.

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    Camilo Diaz

    Astros SS

    Born: Sept. 5, 2005. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 165. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    Few players signed in 2023 can match the level of physicality and tools that Dominican shortstop Camilo Diaz possesses. Signed for $2.25 million at 17, Diaz is an athletic 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with excellent bat speed and flashes of 70 raw power from the right side. Diaz can put on a dazzling display in batting practice, though the key will be how much contact he’s able to make. Scouts highest on Diaz saw a patient hitter who was able to draw walks and hammer fastballs for extra-base damage in games. Others saw a longer swing with a tendency to bail and get on his front side early, leading to more swing-and-miss risk. Power is just one standout tool for Diaz, who is a plus runner with an easy gait and an outstanding arm that some scouts call a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Those tools and athleticism give Diaz a chance to develop at shortstop, though given how large he is already, there’s a good chance he ends up sliding over to third base.

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    Hendry Chivilli

    Twins SS

    Born: Sept. 14, 2005. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 170. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    Angel Chivilli, a 20-year-old righthander who signed with the Rockies for $200,000 in 2018, is a reliever who posted a 2.21 ERA and a 51-10 K-BB mark in 40.2 innings last year between the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and Low-A Fresno. The Twins signed his brother, 17-year-old shortstop Hendry Chivilli, for $2.1 million this year. At 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, Chivilli sticks out immediately for his extremely lanky, high-waist frame with a ton of space left to fill out. Chivilli’s physical development will be key for his future, with a chance to stay at shortstop because he’s an above-average runner who moves well at the position and has at least a plus arm that could be a 70 or better tool once he gets stronger. There’s also a chance he could outgrow shortstop, but if he does, some scouts think he could have the offensive ability to fit at third base too. He has a loose stroke from the right side, and scouts highest on him liked his contact skills. His swing is geared to pull the ball in the air and he has significant power projection that could come once he packs on more weight.

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    Joendry Vargas

    Dodgers SS

    Born: Nov. 8, 2005 Ht: 6-3. Wt: 180. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Dodgers spent half of their bonus pool to sign Dominican shortstop Joendry Vargas for $2,077,500. Vargas has grown to a lean 6-foot-3, 180 pounds at 17. Some scouts liked Vargas for the power potential he has from his long, highly projectable frame and thought he would be a power-over hit player, while others thought he was more of a high-contact hitter from the right side whose deep alleys power would take off once he layered on more strength. He has experience switch-hitting too, but he’s hitting exclusively from the right side now. An average runner, Vargas has long strides to cover ground at shortstop. At his size, depending on how much bigger he gets, there’s a chance Vargas outgrows the position, but he moves around the field smoothly with the hands, actions and arm strength for shortstop.

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    Daiverson Gutierrez

    Mets C

    Born: Sept. 11, 2005. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 205. B-T: R-R. Country: Venezuela

    The Mets signed three players for bonuses of at least $1 million this year. They spent $1.9 million to sign Daiverson Gutierrez, an offensive-minded catcher from Venezuela. Gutierrez has a strong build with an advanced hitting approach for 17. He has selective aggression at the plate, showing a good sense of the strike zone for his age while hunting pitches he can drive for damage. While his swing can get hitchy at times, the barrel comes through the hitting zone with good path and the hand-eye coordination that leads to a high contact rate. Gutierrez has a good mix of hitting ability and power, with the strength and bat speed that could allow him to develop into a 25-plus home run threat. The early returns from spring training were positive with Gutierrez offensively, though he will have to prove he can stick behind the plate. His blocking and receiving will need to improve, but scouts highest on him think he has the hands to catch. He does have plus raw arm strength and has worked to iron out an unconventional arm action to try to improve his throwing mechanics.

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    Robert Calaz

    Rockies OF

    Born: Nov. 22, 2005. Ht: 6-3. Wt: 180. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The big signing this year for the Rockies was 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Robert Calaz, who landed a $1.7 million bonus. Calaz has drawn comparisons to Mets outfielder Alexander Ramirez, another athletic, tooled-up outfielder and one of the top prospects in that organization. Calaz has a chance to be a power/speed threat, with plus-plus speed underway in the 60-yard dash and the strength in his frame (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) to drive the ball with impact to all fields. Calaz has explosive bat speed from the right side of the plate. Some scouts had concerns about longer levers leading to length in his swing, but others liked the way his bat came through the zone and allowed him to drive the ball with plus raw power, not just to his pull side but to all fields, and liked his bat-to-ball skills. Calaz has the speed and defensive actions to continue in center field, though depending on his physical development and how much of his speed he retains, he could end up in a corner, where he should have plenty of power to profile and a plus arm that would fit in right field. He has been in Arizona for spring training, though he’s expected to make his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League.

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    Yophery Rodriguez

    Brewers OF

    Born: Dec. 5, 2005. Ht: 6-0. Wt: 175. B-T: L-L. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Brewers signed three players for bonuses of more than $1 million this year, with Dominican outfielder Yophery Rodriguez their top prospect. Signed for $1.5 million, Rodriguez is an advanced hitter for a 17-year-old with a well-rounded skill set. He has an athletic build at 6 feet, 175 pounds and was one of the better offensive performers signed this year out of the Dominican Republic. He tracks pitches well and has good plate discipline. With a flatter swing path from the left side, Rodriguez makes frequent contact, can turn around good fastballs at the top of the zone and has the components to get on base at a high clip. Rodriguez was physically behind his peers early in the scouting process, but he has gained considerable strength since then to drive the ball with more impact, giving him a chance for above-average power with a good mix of patience and extra-base damage. A tick above-average runner, Rodriguez doesn’t have typical center field speed, but his athleticism and good reads off the bat will allow him to continue developing in center field.

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    Yoelin Cespedes

    Red Sox SS

    Born: Aug. 9, 2005. Ht: 5-9 Wt: 155. B-T: R-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    The big signing this year for the Red Sox this year is Yoeilin Cespedes, a Dominican shortstop who got $1.4 million. Cespedes himself isn’t big—he’s 5-foot-9, 180 pounds—but he has outstanding contact skills and surprising righthanded juice for his size. Some scouts considered Cespedes to be one of the best pure hitters available this year, with excellent hand-eye coordination and bat control for a 17-year-old. It’s a fast bat with the ability to reocgnize spin and maintain an all-fields approach, leading to strong performance in games. Cespedes isn’t a free-swinger, but he has an aggressive mindset and will expand the strike zone, though he still has the ability to square up balls in the zone or off the plate. Cespedes will flash solid-average raw power and could have more as he fills out what should be a bulkier frame, with power to pull balls over the fence now in games. Cespedes is an offensive-minded infielder with average speed and a solid-average arm that would fit anywhere in the infield. His defensive progress has been encouraging, with improved hands and good body control that give him an opportunity to continue developing at shortstop at least in the lower levels, though a lot of scouts project him as a second or third baseman long term.

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    Kevin Ereu

    Brewers SS

    Born: May 24, 2006. Ht: 5-10. Wt: 160. B-T: R-R. Country: Venezuela

    Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Ereu signed with the Brewers for $1.4 million. At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Ereu isn’t that tall, but he has a strong, compact build for 16 with easy bat speed and impressive power for his size. The ball carries well off his bat and he could end up a 25-plus home run hitter. It’s likely a power-over-hit shape to his offensive game, with the scouts highest on him thinking that there’s enough feel for hitting for him to tap into that power against live pitching. An average runner, Ereu is a skillful defender at shortstop, where he has good lateral agility and extremely quick footwork with good body control, hands and an above-average arm.

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    Christopher Larez

    Mets SS

    Born: Jan. 10, 2006. Ht: 6-1. Wt: 190. B-T: R-R. Country: Venezuela

    Venezuelan shortstop Cristopher Larez, signed for $1.4 million, brings a good mix of tools and skills for a 17-year-old. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Larez has a strong frame for a shortstop and is especially advanced at the plate. It’s a mature approach with a good sense of the strike zone and a knack for barreling balls at a high clip against live pitching. His strength helps him drive the ball for extra-base juice from right-center field over to his pull side. It’s mostly doubles power with occasional home runs that should turn into average power as he continues to get stronger and learns which pitches to turn on for pull-side damage. It’s an offensive skill set that should translate into early success in the Dominican Summer League, with a headsy, instinctive game that shows up at shortstop as well. He’s a high baseball IQ player with secure hands and makes the routine plays as a reliable defender at shortstop. Given his body type, there’s a chance he gets bigger and he ultimately outgrows shortstop to move to second or third base, but he has a chance to stick at short and should continue to develop there. He’s a solid-average runner with a plus arm that fits anywhere on the infield.

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    Welbyn Francisca

    Guardians SS

    Born: May 17, 2006. Ht: 5-10. Wt: 175. B-T: B-R. Country: Dominican Republic

    Cleveland’s biggest bonus this year went to Dominican shortstop Welbyn Francisca, who signed for $1.375 million. Francisca, 16, is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, having grown from a smaller stature player who stood out early in the scouting process for his hitting ability. Francisca isn’t tall, but he is physically well developed for his age, adding significant strength over the last couple of years, with big bat speed from both sides of the plate. Francisca has a rhythmic swing with good hand-eye coordination and the ability to manipulate the barrel well to make a lot of contact. He takes an aggressive swing but typically is able to maintain his balance to produce a high contact rate in games. It has been a hit-over-power profile for Francisca, but with his bat speed, added strength and ability to drive the ball for hard contact in the air, there could be a good amount of slugging to go with his hit tool. A lot of scouts viewed Francisca as a future second baseman. There’s still a chance that happens, but his defensive progress gives him a better chance to stick at shortstop. He’s an athletic shortstop with solid-average speed and an above-average arm. He can get too quick at times and is still learning to slow the game down at shortstop, but he moves his feet well laterally and has good defensive actions for his age.

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    Andy Acevedo

    Nationals OF

    Born: Nov. 26, 2005. Ht: 6-0. Wt: 165. B-T: L-L. Country: Dominican Republic

    The Nationals signed 17-year-old Andy Acevedo, a lefthanded outfielder from the Dominican Republic, for $1.3 million. While Acevedo’s tools have ticked up over the last couple years, it’s his hitting ability that draws the most attention. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds with a sound swing that has good bat path and he has the ability to manipulate the barrel well to square up pitches in different parts of the strike zone. It’s a fairly easy swing and he is starting to drive the ball with more authority now, and that power should continue to climb as he fills out his projectable farme. He’s an average runner who tracks the ball well in the outfield, with a good chance he gets exposure to all three outfield positions early in his career, projecting best as a corner outfielder long term.

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